When is Rizal Day?
This national holiday is celebrated annually on 30 December.
History of Rizal Day
Dr. José Rizal is a National Hero of the Philippines, credited with playing a key role in starting the revolution against the Spanish colonisers.
Born on 19 June 1861 in the town of Calamba, Rizal was a doctor and a novelist. Writing from Europe, in his novel Noli me Tangere’ (Touch me not), he denounced the corrupt rule of the Philippines by Spanish friars. Many historians agree that the ideas he raised in that novel and its sequel, ‘El filibusterismo’ (Reign of Greed) , were heavy influences on the growing discontentment with Spanish rule and inspired the revolution.
While Rizal had no direct role in the nationalist insurrection, and never took part in any fighting; he was still seen as being involved with the revolutionary forces and was arrested and tried for treason. Rizal was executed by firing squad at Bagumbayan field, now known as Rizal Park, in Manila at 7am on 30 December 1896.
The first president of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo, commemorated the first Rizal Day in 1898.
On 1 February 1902, the Philippine Commission enacted Act. No. 345, which officially declared 30 December as Rizal Day.
How is Rizal Day celebrated?
To mark the day, the Philippine flag is flown at half-mast across the country , and a service is led by the president at the Rizal Monument in Manila. Wreath laying-ceremonies are also held at the Rizal Shrine in Calamba and the Rizal Monument in Baguio City.
In recent years there have been attempts to move this holiday to Rizal’s birthday, 19 June as the proximity of Christmas and New Year reduces the importance of the holiday and it would be seen by some as more fitting to celebrate his birth rather than commemorate his death.
On 20 June 2011 a special one-off non-working holiday was declared in honour of Rizal’s 150th Birthday.